What We Do
In 2021 the Gestalt Centre Belfast (GCB) was incorporated as a Community Interest Enterprise – a not for profit organisation – regulated by the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Act 2004.
GCB was established to provide Gestalt practice in the context of the mental health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.
This has included:
- Gestalt therapy with individuals, couples, families
- professional and clinical supervision
- organisational and community development
The members and Associates have worked primarily in community based organisations, mainstream education as well as teaching and training in Adult and Continuing Education.
We formed the organisation in response to a number of major concerns:
- the need to have more well-trained Gestalt practitioners in the field
- the provision of a needs-based open-ended alternative to the very short term counselling support generally available here in the North of Ireland
- the need for post qualifying training specific to the context in which we work. Continuing professional develop is often either too brief, too expensive or requires travelling abroad and so, financially inaccessible to many
- the need to develop and share the experience of therapists working here, in a society emerging from conflict, with the therapeutic community here and internationally
In support of this we have also collaborated regularly with internationally respected practitioners to offer professional development, until 2011 under the name of Belfast Gestalt Institute (BGI), aftwerwards as Gestalt Centre Belfast. Those events have included workshops with Bud Feder (NYIGT), Philip Lichtenberg (GTI Philadelphia), Susan Gregory (NYIGT), Michael Clemmens (GI Cleveland), Jim Kepner (GI Cleveland), and Seán Gaffney (Sweden and Ireland). GCB hosted the international 'Roots of Gestalt' conference in 2014, on the theme Working With Groups, which drew participants from across the world. GCB also hosted in 2010 the Cape Cod Training Programme delivered by the Gestalt International Study Centre. We have been working with Seán Gaffney both as individuals and later as an organisation, since 1995.
Our training events have covered a wide range of areas of interest:
- understanding the long term and transgenerational impact of trauma
- a field approach to working with groups
- addiction and recovery
- working with the somatic experience of trauma and Early Developmental trauma
- adolescent development
- supporting organisational development for community based projects
- working with parents to support the emotional and psychological health of their children
- embodied psychotherapy
GCB has organised a number of Writers’ Workshops events. It runs monthly theoretical seminars. Its membership consists of accredited practitioners, several of whom have presented in conferences and worked internationally, – Ireland North and South, Germany, Greece, South Africa, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Poland, Hungary, Scandanavia and France. Some have published in peer-reviewed journals or contributed book chapters.